Western Union Launches Partnership with Burmese Banks

By The Irrawaddy 14 January 2013

RANGOON — Seven Burmese banks, including the country’s largest, officially launched a partnership with Western Union on Saturday to provide money transfer services to Burmese nationals living abroad.

“Currently, six local banks already operate international money transfer services with Western Union, and now Kanbawza Bank, the biggest bank in Burma with more than 90 branches across the country, has also joined our network,” said Drina C Yue, the managing director and senior vice president of Western Union’s Asia Pacific operations, at the Park Royal Hotel in Rangoon.

Western Union, one of the world’s leading companies providing money transfer services, has more than 500,000 branches in over 200 countries.

Deputy Finance Minister Dr Maung Maung Thein said the company’s partnerships with Burmese banks would make it easier for Burmese living abroad to contribute to the country’s development.

“There are more than two million migrant workers from Burma in other countries. Now they can safely send their money back to their families using Western Union’s services. We welcome Western Union as a part of the country’s efforts to develop its financial institutions and reform its economy.

The seven Burmese banks involved in the partnership are Kanbawza Bank, First Private Bank, Myanmar Oriental Bank, Cooperative Bank, United Amara Bank, Myanmar Apex Bank and the Myanmar Livestock and Fisheries Development Bank.

Yue stressed that the new service will be highly secure but also quick and convenient.

“When people transfer money to Burma, they will receive a 10-digit secrete code. To collect the money, the recipients will have to use this 10-digit number and produce documents proving their identity. But the whole process will take just one minute,” she said.

For the time being, however, customers will only be able to use the service to transfer funds into Burma, and not out of the country. But this will change in the near future, said Zaw Lin Htut, the manager of Kanbawza Bank. “Very soon, transfers to other countries will also be possible. We are ready to operate both inward and outward services,” he said.